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Strelets

Set M005

Medieval Levy (1)

Click for larger image
All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Stats
Date Released 2007
Contents 48 figures
Poses 12 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Grey
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)

Review

While many may think of the medieval period as one of knights, the truth is a large part of most armies were made up of the levy. The levy were men who were called to military service as part of their feudal obligation to their lord, something of a cross between rent in kind and conscription. Normally their armament depended on their wealth (in terms of land held), with a sliding scale going down to those with very little land, who would have had little military equipment or weaponry. It would seem that it is these that are the subject of this set.

Although at times attempts were made to extend the obligation, these men were usually required to serve for a maximum number of days per year, hopefully at a time when their absence did not interfere too much with the agricultural cycle on which they depended. Without the wealth to properly equip themselves most would have worn whatever clothing they owned that would best withstand the unknown rigours of the campaign to come. Some may have acquired some rudimentary protection, or may have been given some by their lord. Finally of course there was sometimes the opportunity to liberate suitable items from the dead, wounded and prisoners on the battlefield. All the figures here fit this pattern. Some have simple tunics that might be everyday dress but most have a padded or quilted aketon or gambeson, some of which could conceal more substantial protection underneath. A few seem to have metal studs as reinforcement, and one seems to have acquired some mail. Assorted boots and shoes are worn, and most are lucky enough to have some form of helmet, with the rest making do with a cap or hood.

Weaponry too is a real mix, and includes hammers (mauls), longarms, axes, maces, swords and a flail. Just as everyone did in civilian life these men also have a knife and in many cases a purse too. Everything is perfectly reasonable (given the rather vague title of the set) so we have no complaints about accuracy.

Past Strelets minisets have been focused on one small subject such as a particular formation, but these have no particular theme. All the poses are clearly in combat and as might be expected just about all have been seen before in earlier sets. All the poses are OK but none warrant particular comment. The artistic skill of these figures is about average for Strelets. There is nothing elegant about them but most of the detail is there, but some items tend to be a bit shorter and thicker than other manufacturers manage. Several weapons and shields are separate but these fit reasonable well, although the third figure in the second row has a very basic left hand and this weapon will need gluing. Flash is minimal as we have come to expect from this company.

With no speciality figures and no knights or archers this is really a collection of 'arrow fodder'. While they are not attractive they are at least well researched and should fit into many armies of the Middle Ages. Unlike previous minisets however 12 poses is not particularly generous, so this subject would in our view have been better represented by the more established all-different Strelets set.


Ratings

Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 7
Pose Number 8
Sculpting 6
Mould 9

Further Reading
Books
"Armies of Feudal Europe 1066-1300" - Wargames Research Group - Ian Heath - 9780904417432
"Medieval Costume, Armour and Weapons" - Dover - Eduard Wagner, Zoroslava Drobna & Jan Durdik - 9780486412405
"Medieval Military Costume" - Crowood (Europa Militaria Special Series No.8) - Gerry Embleton - 9781861263711
"The Hussite Wars 1419-36" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.409) - Stephen Turnbull - 9781841766652

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